PT on the Net Research

Chiropractic Care


Question:

I am a 20-year-old certified personal trainer. I have played sports year-round all my life with NO functional flexibility. I have an anterior pelvic tilt (tightness in lats, psoas and quadratus lumborum). The tightness in my hip flexors really inhibits my TVA. I do tons of corrective exercise and even more flexibility and foam rolling. Do you think most postural corrections can be achieved through just corrective exercise, or will results be better with chiropractic care and corrective training? I have talked to a chiropractor, and he says his care is vital to achieve ideal posture. Do you think it is for real, or is he trying to find a new client?

Answer:

When it comes to health and vitality, there are many pieces to the puzzle, each as important as the next. And just as a puzzle has many pieces, so too does the body when it comes to creating homeostasis within all vital systems (mind, body and soul). The body is such a complex machine, and to divide it into segments as society does gets us in a lot of trouble. The problem with medical industry, or any industry for that matter, is that everyone thinks what they do is so vital in the evolution of life. That creates huge egos and lots of conflict, and the only winner is the clinician himself, not the client. There are many chiropractors and other health professionals in this industry today. In my experience, “No man is wise enough by himself” (Titus Maccius Plautus). Money is a major driving factor in business today, and when it comes to health and vitality, it can be like playing Russian roulette with your life. 

I’m not going to lecture you on my opinion of Chiropractic Care. I am not against it, but you need to find a good one to work with, preferably find a NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) Chiropractor. These professionals specialize on the cervical spine, mostly with atlas and axis adjustments. The basis behind a NUCCA is correction of the topmost vertebra on the spinal cord, which is also called the Atlas or C1 vertebra. The Atlas is concave on top to accept the convex base of the skull, and it is convex on the bottom to fit into the concave of the next vertebra. Central to the vertebra runs the spinal cord, carrying a host of body control messages from the brain. Between each pair of vertebrae are 31 pairs of nerves extending out to organs and muscles. Misaligned (or subluxated) vertebrae can impinge on the nerves and hamper body function (visceral and musculoskeletal). Another major issue of adjusting the C1 vertebra is its correlation with the L5 vertebra.

There are a lot of people walking around in society with L5/S1 issues, pelvic rotation, vertebral torsion and much more. I am not saying that getting your C1 vertebra is the end all, but it is one very important piece to the puzzle. It will assist the rest of the spine back into alignment, relieving nerve compression/impingement, ischemia, visceral-somatic, visceral-visceral, somatic-visceral and somatic-somatic reflex dysfunction and decrease overall sympathetic overload. To explain why these two areas are important would take a while, so check out this site to find a NUCCA in your area: www.nucca.org.

My intuition tells me that if you feel like he is trying to find a new client, he probably is. Society lacks the understanding that everything in life vibrates. So what you are feeling intuitively from this chiropractor is some of his negative vibrations. Before I do anything to my body (acupuncture, EFT, massage, Rolfing, etc.) or take anything (herbs, cleanses, essential oils, etc.), I educate myself about them. As well, I try to find skilled practitioners in my area that are knowledgeable on the certain topic that I am interested in. This will allow me not only to become educated for myself and my clients, but it will assist me in establishing a great relationship with someone who I can trust and refer clients to. We are all or should be in this business to help others help themselves. Go out into the field, meet with various NUCCAs, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, herbalists, naturopaths, osteopaths, MDs, PTs, etc. to establish not only relationships with these people for referrals but to find out who is out there. You will know right away who is in this business for personal gain versus client health.

Here is some basic insight to what you have included in your question about your postural issues. Most people walking around today have not just one postural distortion. Secondary to society working more and moving less, we see lots of upper cross syndrome, coupled with lower cross, which is usually coupled with a pronation distortion. If the pelvis anteriorly or posteriorly rotates, you will have coupled upper and lower body compensations. This is why you see and hear about so much injury, pain and discomfort within our gyms today. Not only do we work more and move less, our gyms are filled with junk that reinforce the distortions we already have. On top of that, people are living unhealthier lifestyles than ever before.  

From what you have told me, an anteriorly rotated pelvis is coupled with adduction of the femur, internal rotation of the tibia and pronation at the ankle. Secondary to the pull of the psoas anteriorly on the pelvis, the abdominal wall becomes lengthened, inhibiting the inner unit from working. As well, common tonic muscles are: psoas, rectus femoris (not always), sartorius, TFL, IT band, erector spinae, biceps femoris, and adductors. Common phasic muscles are: gluteus maximus/medius, inner unit (TVA, Multifidus, internal oblique, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles), medial hamstrings (semitendonosis/semimembranosis), hip external rotators (piriformis, gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, obturator externus, quadratus femoris).  

Common dysfunctions are as follows:

The interesting thing that most people are unaware of is that your physical being is a manifestation of your mental and emotional stressors. Having that said, you will find that most people who have inner unit dysfunction secondary to gastrointestinal issues (constipation/diarrhea, IBS, leaky gut syndrome, hypochloridria to name a few) stemming from stress. This causes the average person to have GI inflammation, become bloated and get visceroptosis (drooping organs), causing visceral-somatic reflexes. This will in turn inhibit the inner unit, tilting the pelvis anteriorly and cause a myriad of musculoskeletal and visceral dysfunction. That means you can do all the lower abdominal and corrective exercises you want, but if you have visceral dysfunction, you are trying to teach the tail to wag the dog and not the dog to wag the tail by just performing corrective exercise. 

Stress is the number one cause of GI dysfunction. There are so many kinds of stress such as:

To sum it all up, “There is no I in team!” When it comes to making a puzzle or putting the body back into alignment (whether mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, nutritional), there are many people who need to be involved. To answer your question, no I do not think most postural distortions can be corrected with corrective exercise alone. Yes, it is a piece to the puzzle, but as you can see above, most of the time our distortions are stress (nutritional, chemical, environmental, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) related. Finding a C.H.E.K Practitioner/NLC, NUCCA Chiropractor and a St. John’s NMT Therapist will aid you in your goal to homeostasis as well as covering all the areas mentioned above.